Even behind the old-fashioned windowpanes, there were magnificent Japanese-style buildings

Former Asakura House
Shot at Former Asakura House in Daikanyama, Tokyo
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The reason I came to Daikanyama on this day was not to shop in this fashionable town. It was to see a 100-year-old house preserved in a corner of Daikanyama. The two-story Japanese style house was built by Torajiro Asakura, who served as the chairman of the Tokyo prefectural assembly and the head of the Shibuya ward assembly, and is preserved not far from the fashionable Hachiman-dori Street.

Nearby is Saigoyama Park, where Saigou Takamori's younger brother, Saigou Judo, used to have his residence, and where there used to be a Japanese and a Western-style house built in the Meiji era. The Japanese style house was destroyed in an air raid during World War II, and the Western style house was moved to Meiji-mura in Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture in 1963. In other words, the former Asakura Residence is the oldest existing residence in this area.

As soon as I entered the site, I saw a Japanese style wooden structure. The former Iwasaki Residence in Yushima and the former Asakanomiya Residence in Meguro (now the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum) are two of the oldest residences left in Tokyo, but this one is different from both. The former Iwasaki residence had both a Japanese style house for daily life and a Western style house for entertaining guests (as was also the case with the residence of Saigo Judo), while the former Asakanomiya residence had a Western style house for both daily life and entertaining guests. In contrast, the people of the Asakura family lived and served their guests in the Japanese style house.

The former Asakura Residence was built in 1919, between the former Iwasaki Residence and the former Asakanomiya Residence. While the upper class people were shifting from living their daily lives in the Japanese style to the Western style for public appearances, to living all their lives in the Western style, here in Daikanyama, they continued to live their lives in the Japanese style, ignoring the Western style.

Walking through the Japanese style houses, I felt as if I was visiting my grandfather's house. But at the same time, I wondered if it would be more comfortable to live in a modern apartment, since Japanese style buildings are too hot in summer and too cold in winter.

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Shooting Date

Feb 2021

Posted On

August 9, 2021

Modified On

November 11, 2021


Daikanyama, Tokyo


Architectural Photography





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